Mysticism, Turiya and Ramakrishna: Conversations around self- A Photo Book, Yogic Studies
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Turiya and Ramakrishna: The Science of Breathing


The first act of Life as soon as we come out of mother’s womb is, we inhale. Maharaj Ji asked me to sit straight and take one deep breath, in a voice that demanded attention. I held it for 10 seconds, as he continued, and the last act of life is, we exhale; that is it.

Leave the breath through your mouth.

We inhale and we start crying. When we exhale, we make others cry.

Between these two, a whole life is lived and one must take a deeper and a closer look at our lives. Because however our life is, the most important thing we unfortunately learn to ignore is, our breath.

Also Read: Food and the World on a New Yogi’s Mind

Maharaj Ji Paying homage to Narmadeshwar, a lingam he left in his younger years. Found again while walking through Central Indian Village


Maharaj Ji was making a Yantra with red vermillion, on an old bhojpatra paper as he casually started telling me a tale of essence about being. This was way back in 2014, around when we were travelling right towards the centre of India, to Ujjain. But had to take a detour and stopped at an ashram in the outskirts of Udaipur.

The breath plays a very important role in managing our mind and the body, as it is the only bridge, even vehicle that connects the two and propels the spirit. In the night, i remember he broke the silence for something very important that had come to his mind. I was looking outside at the villages and fields passing by through the train’s window. “Narayan you know that anyone who is not happy is sick. Don’t think the ones who are in hospital are sick, any who is not calm, not stable, remains irritated or angry is sick. Anyone who doesn’t really know how to handle their thoughts, storms of emotion is in some way or the other not right, isn’t it?” I Smiled, and I couldn’t agree more. As they say everything is connected. And that everything is connected with one’s breath. Hence the first thing one must be taught should be how to breathe!

Also read: Turiya and Ramakrishna: Who are you?

An old image of me during Pilgrimage Years with Maharaj Ji


He continued, there is some rhythm in the breath. And this rhythm is connected to the rhythm in the world, the rhythm in nature, and the rhythm in the body, of your thoughts and the rhythm of your emotions. The mind is very abstract, and actually one cannot really deal with the mind directly. But if one starts attending to the root cause of this problem or any problem that the mind is facing; breath has the power to eliminate it because our breath has more information about us than we can ever know. It’s the first to come with us and the last to leave. Its more than our family if we ever look at it that way. It is strange but its true.

When anyone with a negative vibe comes, it shows up in your breath. You will feel it automatically because his vibe will alter the way you feel, even if its just a little bit. And whatever the feeling other person has, you can feel it in your breath if you become that conscious.

Likewise, someone with a lot of anger comes in front of you, you will see that the rhythm of your breath will change, and it is nothing but fire element transpiring in your breath. And same with someone telling you a lie, you can recognise it, only if you have become one with your breath.


Also read: A Brief History of Ancient temples in India – ३

Maharaj Ji under the Sacred Banyan in Udaipur


Maharaj Ji had a way of doing things. He was a sage yet quiet unpredictable. One morning he had given me some work, but came back again and started speaking in such a way that i had to leave everything else and focus on what he spoke.

Our right nostril Narayan, is called Sun nostril or the Surya Naadi, Left nostril is called the Chandra or the moon Naadi. It is also known as cold or dark you may say. Different activities are allocated for these naadis.

You can check right now. He asked me and I am asking you, my co-travellers here; you. Which nostril is working as you read this? Do tell me because, if your left nostril is functioning right now, I can bet that either you are about to leave reading this article half-read, or it could be that you are sleepy or are finding it hard to grasp whatever I am talking about, and it could happen that you may need another read to absorb it fully. But if you are still here, reading this line, I would assume that your right nostril or the surya/solar naadi is functioning, you are grasping it all right. And you are rather curious to know more.

So it is with food. If you eat when your left is functioning then it is going to take a lot more time for you to digest, that is also one reason why yogis used to finish eating before sundown. It is also know to disturb one’s digestive tract. In earlier days, when the sun and moon were not taken for granted, Maharaj Ji said, showing his staff to me, Rishis used to change it at will. Ancient Rishis always carried with them a Yogdanda, a staff. Apart from shooing away unwanted creatures, that staff helped them changing the breath functioning according to their will.

Also read: A Brief History of Nine Planets in India- ४

Maharaj Ji about to leave, after the morning ritual


As with eating, same with elimination process. If you have gone to washroom when the left or the moon nostril is in charge, you will go again, within one to one and a half hours.

And if you sleep with your right nostril, that is taking your sight towards the left side, your sleep will be better and deeper. You will feel energised once you will get up. But if you sleep with your left nostril functioning, you will have a lighter sleep, you may wake up and want to go back to sleep again.

Narayan, you must know that, if you start closely monitoring how your breath flows throughout the day with sunrise to moonrise, with the cosmic events, you will be amazed that they are so co-related.

Just for a few days start observing in the morning the time you get up, which nostril is functioning as it is very much connected with the time as well as the positioning of the moon.

Also Read: The Curse of A Tale: And Why each mother should make her child first, a storyteller?

I asked Maharaj Ji out of curiosity, what if both nostrils start functioning together? He smiled, and said that if both nostrils are functioning then nothing works in the body, that is the time of transcendence. Either you will be deep in meditation or you may be sprinting. Either you will be sitting in a plane ready for the flight or you will be going to kill someone, it is here when both nostrils function. In Yogic terminology, it is known as sushumna and the kundalini is said to rise when both nostrils function.

There is also a great rather deeper science about when the soul is leaving the body, according to one’s karma it might choose either of the two, which decides the spirit’s path from there onwards but for that we will talk someday again.

Now sit, with your eyes close, lets meditate.

I, somewhere in the Himalayas meditating


: ँ :


Cover Image- from a sacred pond with floating lights in Kerala, India; sent by Manu di


: ँ :

Thank you.

If today is the first time you have arrived on The Road to Nara, you are heartily welcome ~ Namaste

Turiya and Ramakrishna are a compilation of conversation held between a Guru and Disciple. An ongoing Photobook Project journeying through the Indian Subcontinent through Images, symbols and conversations.


: ँ :

I will take this opportunity to introduce you to About me and importantly;

As a co-traveller, taking you through the Ten Lessons I learnt from several years on the roadbefore you coarse on youown Road to Nara.


: ँ :

If you are still here, you might like to know about My Little School. If you wish to come over for a visit, to share your stories or one of your magic tricks with children, you are heartily welcome.

If you would like to contribute to this project by funding a student to plant a tree or towards his education, you can please do so here

: ँ :

Above all, If you have anything to share, or feel like saying a hello, please feel free to write to me at nara@road-to-nara.com

To visit other long-term photographic works, you can visit here.


To follow my walks through the rural Indian Subcontinent, find me at 
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Hi, I am Narayan Kaudinya. And i welcome you on this journey, the Road to Nara ! I am an Ethnographer and a practicing Indologist. I did my masters in History and further learnt Sanskrit, Yoga and Nerve-therapy. At 24, pushing most academic sounding, office sitting works away, i felt compelled to know and understand the world and my country, Bharat/India. I travelled, and as it happened i took up teaching in Kashmir and further up in the remote villages of Baltistan in the foothills of Karakoram Ranges. For around three years and many states later there came a time when i felt that it was only while teaching i learnt how to laugh, to see, feel, breathe, love and cry -with children, and mostly resource-less parents in the harshest-freezing border conditions. I write, and work as a documentary photographer and Filmmaker, with numerous published, exhibited and some awarded stories. In my travels and life i have let nature lead me, the divine mother, and as a Yogin, my resolve here is to share my experiences and thoughts as honestly, and through them to blossom in everyone the power and possibility in pursuing your breath, that you seek your true nature with courage and curiosity. Here, on this road i will share my spirit, my love for nature, the elements of life that are us. And in doing so, i'll be happy to see you along.

67 Comments

  1. Dear Nara, I opened my mail this morning and you are speaking to me, personally, and again it is about the breathe 🙏. Since I suffer with sinus problems I wonder how your words can help? When I awake each morning my left (Chandra naadi) is always closed/clogged and it only awake that this clears. What should i do? 🙏

    Like

    • Ashley, your presence makes me very happy, likewise to hear from you, as it came on the most important aspect, the life for that carry us. I assume your sinus has been there for a long time.

      And i would like to write in detail as it is possible that it can be cured by balancing the naadis and some unique ways of breathing. I shall write to you soon on your mail.

      Like

  2. This essay, Narayan, is based on the teaching of your guru Maharaja Ji and is greatly fascinating. The sage explains the profound importance of breathing in conversation with you, his disciple.
    This is an ancient practice as we know from the often seen pictures of the guru on top of the mountain ready to teach those who would climb to reach him.

    My first moment of surprise was to check my nostrils as asked, and find that it was the right one
    that was working, it meant that I was curious and wanted to know more, as it was spot on, I progressed to be impressed by the wonderful observation that we take the first breath when we are born and cry, and the last breath when we die, and at that moment others cry, so simple yet so true!
    A detailed explanation of the importance of the correct breathing technique is profoundly important to everyone as the rhythm of the breath is connected to everything in the world, and not only to the yogi or the operatic singer. I found everything in this post interesting and unmissable, and it should be read by many as it is a sure way to good health.
    I am waiting to learn more in the next installment of this mesmerizing series but I am glad that I resisted the invitation to meditate, otherwise I would not write this review.
    I have to congratulate you, Dearest Narayan, on the atmospheric and beautiful photographs of your own work as they add immensely to the inner feeling of the reader, especially the one where you meditate in the Himalayas.

    Joanna x

    Liked by 3 people

      • I am very happy to read your words, Dearest Narayan! Please, write more, much more
        as you know what future awaits you. At the very top of the Literary elite!

        Joanna x

        Liked by 1 person

        • You know how most of the times i feel from where could you be saying this from. Looks such an improbable, almost impossible task my dearest.

          But nothing is impossible, and your faith above all. Thank you.

          Like

          • Please remember, Dearest Narayan, what I had once written to you:
            “If you believe, you are halfway there!”
            Also, you know I am always right, almost. And I am a professional literary critic, trained to spot a gem, that might need a bit of polishing but a gem non the less.

            Joanna x

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Turiya and Ramakrishna: The Science of Breathing | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

  4. This is fascinating. I have never thought about which nostril is working. I assumed both but then discovered I had a deviated septum. I had surgery to fix it but now I can’t tell which side is working. I am going to have to pay close attention and maybe I should start sleeping on my left side! You always give me a lot to think about Nara. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Caro, it delights me to know that it helped immensely and that you may never forget it from now on. That is what I had intended to do.

      But i hope Septum deviation wasn’t serious and it didn’t cause any problem. Please take out time and pay a considerable amount of time to this. I would really like to know.

      Like

    • Also you wrote something important which gives the opportunity to write it here.

      Our stomach where the food goes first is towards the left side. When you sleep in the night or even a small nap in the afternoon, sleep towards your left for 5 to minutes, then straight for 5 around minutes looking at the roof, paying slope attention to breathing as they leave the nose and then change your sides towards the right for 5-10 minutes. It’s the best way to keep a balance with one left and right.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Engrossing information, Narayan. I’m rereading a book by Roger Jahnke, Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, that goes into a lot of breathing techniques. He writes that the breath can be seen as bookends to our lives, and its effects on healing are profound. Many blessings! 🌞

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Fascinating information. Thank you for posting such a meaningful account. We in the west need to be much more mindful of our breath! The breath is a powerful tool to deal with physical and emotional pain.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: ReBlogging ‘Turiya and Ramakrishna: The Science of Breathing’ – Link Below | Relationship Insights by Yernasia Quorelios

  8. Fascinating subject, Narayan! I am reminded that the breath is life, yet I rarely pay attention to how I am breathing. I was unaware that at any given time we are only breathing through one nostril. While reading your article, I must’ve been breathing through my right nostril because I was totally engaged. I don’t associate the negative and positive vibes I can from others to their breath, but rather their aura. Does this mean that the breath and aura are interconnected? When retiring to bed at nights, I lie on my left side to fall asleep. During the night, I unconsciously turn onto my back, supposedly for a deeper sleep. In the days ahead, I will be paying more attention to my breathing throughout the day. Blessings ❤

    Like

    • Rosa, delighted to read this lovely, honest comment from you. Certainly breathing can carry our intuition, our senses if done in a certain way to a completely different plane of being.

      Absolutely Rosa, though breath is a part of what makes an aura of a person but you can understand by how a person who is abusive and angry could be breathing, very fast, on the surface emotionally absent. His habits and activities will then slowly derive his aura around.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Also Rosa you spoke about sleeping and I wanted to write it in a different space. Going towards sleeping, our body goes through a process. As our stomach is to our left, we must always for first five to ten minutes sleep towards our left. Then for about similar time on our back and then finally towards our right. It will be always better to sleep towards either side than on the back.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. My right nostril is clear, but my left nostril is a bit contested as I am reading your article. I fall asleep on my left side as well, but always turn to my right side, but what does that mean? Can you explain more? I would really like to know. Thank you for sharing. Have a blessed Sunday.

    Like

    • Thank you for writing so honestly dear Shaun. What you are doing is very much natural. But it is still a complex science for sure.

      Can i write to you over mail as it will be better to write and have a communicative feed than here.

      Like

  10. Beautiful article before your blog I really had no idea that our breath can play so important role in our life. Well shared thanks 😊👍

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  11. We inhale and we start crying. When we exhale, we make others cry.
    Great meaning on this line.
    An excellent topic Narayan Ji.
    In between Inhale and Exhale, many things happen.
    Wonderful explanations on this highly intellectual topic that people are forgetting.
    Thank you so much for bringing these kind of posts in Blog world.
    People will read and know the Reality.
    Regards Narayan Ji 😊🙏🙏

    Like

  12. Michael Graeme says

    Hello Narayan,

    I enjoyed this piece very much, and as always your photographs were beautifully evocative. I was very interested to read it as I stumbled across this method, which I believe was called Swara Yoga in the book I read (hopefully I’m spelling that right). It was many years ago, and made a bit of a study of it. It struck me as very meaningful.

    I read also the flow of the nostril correlates with the brain hemisphere dominance. Left flow, right brain, and vice versa. Both nostrils open coincides with the brain hemispheres changing hands, so to speak, a period that has maximum potential for transcendence, and is optimal for meditation. I can’t remember the book I was using now – it was very old – and it talked about meditation and the use of a “danda”, which ties the nostril flow and brain hemisphere dominance to pressure in the armpit, which is also influenced by the side on which you sleep. Fascinating to read of your expertise. I was quite bound up in the subject for a time. I shall have to look that book up.

    In later years, my sinuses became intermittently troublesome, and made it harder to discern the flow. I took up Qigong instead, which again is very focussed on the breath. But after reading this, I have been looking back through my old notes.

    Thank you again, it was very interesting to be reminded of it.

    Regards

    Michael

    Like

    • You are absolutely and what a find, Swara Yoga is one of my most cherished books. Its very well written by someone who lived like that.

      And how you describe it, i feel that the subject became very close to you and you did dive deep. For me it is delightful and actually vital to know that you yourself were understanding it at some point in your life.

      Qigong is very much similar in its foundation, but works really well once movement is added, takes off mind from just sitting.

      I take it as an appreciation, that it brought back memories and not just them may be the practice in coming weeks.

      Thank you Michael.
      Narayan

      Like

  13. Brilliant insights . Though i was breathing with my left nostril so will need to return and read this again

    Like

  14. KK says

    A beautiful article, thought and action provoking one. Breath is life. The way Maharaj ji has explained its importance and practice is interesting and informative. Thanks a lot, Narayan ji for bringing it to us.

    Like

    • Thank you Kaushal Ji. Our ancestors were blessed with divine understanding of body and the world. And it can only be grace to have been born in Bharat.

      Thank you for your words Kaushal Ji.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Before my dear Mother passed away, she would comment, “Heaven is only one breath away. We will exhale one last time here on earth, and because of our faith in Jesus, we will inhale the next breath in the fresh air of eternity.” I look forward to seeing her again, either when I follow her in dying, or when Jesus returns, which appears to be getting very close!
    ❤️&🙏, c.a.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heartwarming to hear about your mother dear C.A. I hear about mothers and it melts me. I know that she is with you and blessing you with her grace all the time.

      Thank you for your words dear C.a
      Narayan x

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Lovely insightful post, dear Narayana. And I am going through your comments and wondering how you have so much time and energy for answering each comment so articulately. I guess it all stems from your marvelous power to breathe right. Do keep sharing more. I will go back to reading again and and try and register as much as I can. Because this is too precious to be ignored. Thanks for writing with such profound simplicity. Your words have a soul/ spirit of their own.

    Like

    • Namaste Amrita, like flowers your words fall in my ears, even though the voice is mine. There is so much to see, so much to walk and so much to recieve. Nature is what we are all seeking. It is that(tat sat) as wise have said. Thank you so much.

      Narayan

      Like

  17. Fascinating! I am very aware of my breath ans breathing. But had not thought about which nostril was involved. I will pay attention to that now

    Like

    • haha.. yes Anne. It is important and so much in your case and area of work, working with animals as they can sense a lot more of your body and sensitivity than we can ourselves do most of the time. I hope it helps in days and years coming in making you a more aware person.

      Liked by 2 people

  18. Everything is connected. When I stop here to read, I feel the connection and my sun, Surya Naadi at work. Thank you for the science, dear friend. ❤️

    Like

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